Lawn mowing is far more than the mindless weekly task often delegated to the judgment of the neighbor kid down the block. A professionally mowed lawn takes foresight and skill. If you want a professional looking lawn, follow these tips:
- Start with a sharp blade. We recommend sharpening mower blades after ten hours of operation.
- Mowing height. Set your cutting height in the range of 1¾ " to 2½". (If your lawn is growing in extreme shade, let your grass stay longer.)
- Never "scalp" your lawn. Mow your lawn regularly (minimally once per week during the growing season). If you miss a week and your lawn is excessively tall, raise your cutting height before your mow, and mow it again in a few days at your regular setting. During the semi-dormant months of March and November, you may mow your lawn a few settings lower than normal.
- Mowing pattern. Start your weekly mowing procedure by making two swaths around the perimeter of your lawn borders. Establish your first cut in a straight line. If you do not have a straight border to start with, focus on an object at the opposite end of your lawn and mow to it. You will now have an amazingly straight line from which to work. Lawn mowers cause a "grain" pattern which appears as a lighter color when viewed from the direction of travel. This grain is what causes the visual "striping" apparent on professionally maintained turf. To maintain a consistent grain and mowing pattern, work back and forth in opposing directions as you continue the mowing process. Drive the lawn mower around the perimeter when moving to another section, or to dump grass. You've worked hard to establish a nice consistent pattern, wheel tracks cutting across a freshly mowed lawn is unsightly!
- Change mowing patterns. To avoid rutting the lawn and excessive "grain" change mowing patterns every other week. It is best to change your mowing lines to intersect at a 90 or 45 degree angle, again always mowing in a straight line.
- Grass clippings. Mulching, or recycling lawn clippings can be better for your lawn than bagging. Mulching may require you to mow more often than one time per week during periods of rapid growth. If mulching leaves visual "clumps" of grass on your lawn, discoloring will occur.
- String trimming and edging. A nice clean edge is the icing on the cake. When using string trimmers, avoid "burning" down the grass edges with a bevel cut. Edges should be "tight" against paved surfaces at a 90 degree angle. Never trim against trees smaller than six inches in diameter. Repeated contact with the bark of immature trees will girdle and eventually kill them.
- Never refill you gas tank while your mower is on the lawn. Spilled gas kills grass.
- Pour yourself a nice cool drink, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.